PORTLAND, Ore. — Heading into Thursday's trade deadline, the Trail Blazers' biggest areas of need are wing depth, outside shooting and bench scoring.
With the acquisition of Rodney Hood, Portland may have helped to address all three in one trade. Hood is a wing who can effectively play both shooting guard and small forward. He's a strong outside shooter, making 37 percent of his 3-point attempts during his career. And if he doesn't start at small forward, he automatically becomes the Blazers' leading scorer off the bench.
But according to one prominent NBA reporter, league sources report that Portland may not be done making trades before Thursday's deadline.
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Sporting News' Sean Deveney wrote extensively about Portland in his latest trade deadline article, which was published Monday. Let's unpack the most interesting bits of information from Deveney's report.
- The Blazers want Hood to "chew up" minutes at small forward. The team believes he can be a factor on both offense and defense, unlike the team's current small forwards, who excel on offense but not defense (Jake Layman) or defense but not offense (Maurice Harkless).
- Portland is trying to add another difference-maker before Thursday's trade deadline and would prefer to add another "top-tier perimeter threat" to the team.
- The Blazers have inquired about the following players: New Orleans Pelicans power forward Nikola Mirotic, Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier, Atlanta Hawks guard Jeremy Lin and Memphis Grizzlies power forward JaMychal Green. All four of those players have shot 35 percent or better from the 3-point line in their careers.
- The Blazers are offering Maurice Harkless and their first-round pick in trade deals, but have thus far resisted inquiries about second-year big man Zach Collins.
Deveney said the biggest development to watch in Portland is whether the team is willing to include its best young prospect in a deal.
"How much of a splash the Blazers could make likely will depend on their willingness to include second-year forward Zach Collins in a deal," Deveney wrote.
Here's a look at where NBA pundits placed the Blazers in the latest batch of NBA power rankings.
ESPN: Blazers rank No. 8 (up 1)
What they wrote: The Blazers added some scoring and depth with the arrival of guard Rodney Hood via trade from Cleveland. The fifth-year guard averaged 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 45 games with the Cavaliers this season. Hood also got some postseason experience last year playing in the NBA Finals. — Marc Spears
NBA.com: Blazers rank No. 8 (up 2)
What they wrote: Since Christmas, the Blazers have the league's fourth-best record (13-5), with wins over the Warriors, Sixers, Kings and Rockets, as well as two wins in 10 days over the Jazz, who are otherwise 10-1 since Jan. 9. The Blazers' win on Wednesday was, statistically, Utah's worst defensive game of the season and came with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum each scoring 30 or more points on the same night for the second time in their last three games together (and just the 10th time ever). Not only are Lillard and McCollum playing more minutes together this season (only James Harden and P.J. Tucker have played together more), but those Lillard-plus-McCollum minutes have been better (plus-5.8 points per 100 possessions) than they've been in any of the previous three seasons in which the two started together. The acquisition of Rodney Hood is, of course, an attempt to make the Blazers' no-Lillard-or-McCollum minutes better. They've have played a league-low three rest-advantage games thus far, but will have a rest advantage against the Spurs (who play at Golden State the night before) in an important game on Thursday.
BLAZERS WITH LILLARD & MCCOLLUM ON THE FLOOR
- 2015-16: +3.4 net rating
- 2016-17: +4.4 net rating
- 2017-18: +4.9 net rating
- 2018-19: +5.8 net rating
— John Schuhmann
CBS Sports: Blazers rank No. 9 (up 1)
What they wrote: The Blazers are in the midst of a stretch where they play one game in nine days — and then go on a sprint to the All-Star break, when they'll play five games in eight days. Anyway, the Blazers appear to be one of the biggest potential buyers (non-Anthony Davis category) this trade deadline. They could really use another scoring option, especially on the wing. Taurean Prince or Otto Porter Jr. (who the Wizards have said is unavailable) would do wonders for the Blazers. So would Nikola Mirotic or Rodney Hood. What would the cost be? A first-round pick and a young player — like Nik Stauskas or Anfernee Simons — would be intriguing. (Update! On Sunday afternoon, after I wrote this, the Blazers dealt Stauskas, Wade Baldwin and two future second-round picks to Cleveland for Rodney Hood. Solid move.) — Reid Forgrave
Sports Illustrated: Blazers rank No. 8 (up 2)
What they wrote: If you’re only going to play one game in the week, might as well have Dame and CJ combine for 66 on 24-for-38 shooting in a 27-point win. — Khadrice Rollins
The Athletic: Blazers rank No. 8 (no change)
What they wrote: Was Rodney Hood the move the Portland Trail Blazers needed to make? I loved the move the Blazers made this weekend when they moved Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin, and two future second-round picks for a chance at reviving Hood. The Blazers didn’t give up anything of consequence, unless the Cavaliers absolutely nail those second-round picks in 2021 and 2023. Stauskas is just another bench shooter and Baldwin’s days of having promise seem to be over. He just kind of is what he is at this point. But Hood is a completely different type of roster addition. He needs to return to being a very useful role player, like we saw for most of his Utah days.
Hood can help out with playmaking duties in the second unit by being a primary pick-and-roll scorer. He should be able to knock down outside shots when CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard grab the attention of the defense. Hood can defend well within a system, and he can pair nicely with wings like Mo Harkless. This really seems like a win-win for the Blazers. Hood is better than what we’ve seen in Cleveland. Now that he’s been rescued to the Pacific Northwest, he gets to flash that skill and potential like he used to. Great move by Portland. — Zach Harper